JAMES ALSTROM: Higher taxes may result in happier people

TO THE EDITOR:

Taxes — please do not raise them — it might just result in happier people.

It may seem impossible to Tea party people and many others — people who seem fixated only on how bad taxes are — for individuals and for the economy in general, but still let’s take a look at some real-world evidence.

Scandinavian countries — Denmark in particular — have some of the highest tax rates in the world. And — guess what — they also have the happiest people in the world. (As measured by various psychological and other measurements and tests.)

Less stress is one fairly obvious advantage.

Medical needs are provided and readily available to everyone.

Education — likewise. College debt — no worry. Training for the skills needed to enter various occupations — just sign up and apply yourself.

Roads and bridges are maintained — data here shows that it would cost Michigan individuals less to pay taxes for these necessities than to pay for the extra vehicle repairs caused by our bad roads.

Assistance for those needing it — nothing similar to the tens-of-thousands of Michigan children who go hungry on weekends when school breakfasts and lunches are not provided.

Foreclosures on homes are rare.

Bankruptcies — no one ends up homeless or cold or hungry.

Internet service is much faster than here.

Public Transportation actually exists and is available for almost everyone.

I’m sure that readers of this newspaper can — and I certainly hope that they will — provide many more examples of the benefits made available to everyone when government services are sufficiently funded, by what none other than taxes.

Individuals have less money to spend — of course — but they need less. They are still paying for the necessities — and also many of the niceties of life — just paying for them in a different way. And a fairer way — society does not fail to provide at least a fairly decent quality of life for all. That is, unfortunately, too often not the case in purely capitalist societies. This is not Socialism or Communism or other of the “isms” so often bandied about by the supposed “conservatives” in politics and the media. It is just progressive modified capitalist democracy.

That it is not to say that many government regulations badly need some “tweaking” — some just a little or some perhaps a lot — but doing away with regulations and government oversight would take us back to the “Gilded Age”.

A little knowledge of the history of societal conditions then is enough to make decent people dread that.

James Alstrom

Bear Lake

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